Ball State Women’s Basketball (5-7, 0-0 MAC) ends 2018 on an upswing as the Cardinals posted a 99-62 victory over Urbana (1-9, 1-5 MEC).

While they were one-point shy of the century mark, each Cardinal player who saw minutes in today’s game posted points, five of which were in the double-digits. 

It was junior Jasmin Samz’s fourth game in a row with double-digit points. Samz took the reins for the Cardinals, registering 17 points at the end of the first half and finished with a career-high 22 at the end of regulation, while also recording two steals and two rebounds. Freshman Abi Haynes made her presence known, as well, grabbing six steals within eight minutes of play.

“What this break does is it affords us the time to get in the gym and work,” head coach Brady Sallee said. “[Samz] has been working really hard and been putting in the time, and it’s great to see those shots falling for her.”

The Blue Knights only lead came at a score of 7-5, but the tables turned quickly as the Cardinals went on an 11-point run courtesy of freshman Blake Smith, sophomore Oshlynn Brown, senior Nakeya Penny, and Samz. 

The Cardinals led in every category apart from a tie in free throw percentage at 75 percent. With 36 rebounds, 54 percent from the field, and 54 percent from three the Cardinals have seen major improvements in their numbers from the beginning of the season to this final game before conference play begins. Sallee said there’s been a number of great improvements, but there is also room for even more.

“We have a lot of room to grow defensively,” Sallee said. “We’ve gotten better, but there are different defenses that we don’t play as well and we have to execute those to keep teams off balance. If we can continue to make strides, we’ll have chances to win some good games.”

Blue Knight junior Sylvia Hudson managed to tally 14 points to lead her team in points, while senior Erin Morrow pulled down 12 rebounds. However, it wasn’t enough to keep them within reach, as they also posted 23 turnovers and were outrebounded by seven. 

Not only did the Cardinals top the Blue Knights in every category, but they topped their season averages, as well. Apart from tying their average of 36 rebounds, the Cardinals surpassed all of their average shooting percentages and, by a margin of 36 points, their average points scored.

“The schedule that we have played gives a good mirror image of what we will see during conference play,” Sallee said. “Playing against Vanderbilt, Purdue, and some of those really solid teams has given us a lot of good experience. We have to be ready to amp it up and continue to execute at a high level, because these teams come in having scouted and they know who they’re playing against.”

Contact Gabi Glass with any comments at grglass@bsu.edu or on Twitter @gabiglassbsu